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Report: Richard Petty Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing to align

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Richard Petty Motorsports will switch from Ford to Chevrolet, be aligned with Richard Childress Racing and relocate to the RCR campus in Welcome, North Carolina, according to a report Thursday by SportsBusiness Daily.

Spokespersons for Chevrolet, Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing told NBC Sports on Thursday they had no comment on the report.

Petty confirmed the move to RCR’s campus to Kickin’ the Tires on Thursday at the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis.

“We are in the process of moving from where we are now to closer to home, over in Lexington from Mooresville,” Petty told Kickin’ the Tires. “We are off in the corner up at RCR. When you first come in you go by the museum and we’ve got the first building up there, so … we’re on the campus but we’re really not on the campus. We are on the corner of the campus. I guess he (Richard Childress) done that so he could kick us out if we get to causing too much trouble up there.”

On the manufacture switch, Petty told Kickin’ the Tires: “We’re switching to something. Yeah, yeah, you know, It’s a pretty foregone conclusion what is going on, right now.

“We’ll probably be working off of him (Childress), sort of, like we did off of Roush with Ford.”

Richard Petty Motorsports is in the midst of significant change. The team announced Oct. 25 that Darrell Wallace Jr. would drive the No. 43 car next season. He will take over for Aric Almirola, who left after this season to join Stewart-Haas Racing.

RPM stated Aug. 28 that it would vacate the race shop it leased in Mooresville, North Carolina, after the season.

The organization continues to look for sponsorship. Smithfield had been a primary sponsor the past six years. Smithfield will sponsor Almirola at Stewart-Haas Racing next year but also is expected to stay on in some form with RPM, according to a SportsBusiness Daily report in October. Richard Petty Motorsports announced Nov. 3 that Click n’ Close will sponsor the car in at least three races next year, including the Daytona 500. STP announced Nov. 13 that it would sponsor RPM in two races in 2018

The pairing of Richard Petty Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing makes sense because RCR appears to have room at its facility. Richard Childress Racing, which has run three full-time Cup teams the past six seasons, has not announced plans for the No. 27 Cup team. That ride was left in question after Paul Menard and sponsor Menard’s announced in July that they would move to the Wood Brothers for 2018.

Richard Childress Racing, which has three charters, has announced only Cup entries for next season for Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman. Richard Petty Motorsports has two charters (it leased one last year) but is only expected to field the No. 43 for Wallace.

Petty told Kickin’ the Tires that the team is leasing a charter for the 2018 season to Rick Ware Racing for the No. 51 car with Ray Black Jr.

By partnering, it would allow RPM to have access to the engineering support Richard Childress Racing can supply. By adding RPM, it would allow Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines to offset the loss of the No. 27 team if it doesn’t run next season.

Also, a move by Wallace and RPM to Chevrolet would mean that half the 14 Chevrolet Cup drivers who have been announced with rides for next season would be age 25 or under to start the season. Wallace is 24 and would join William Byron (age 20), Chase Elliott (22), Alex Bowman (24), Kyle Larson (25), Ty Dillon (25) and Chris Buescher (25) in the Chevrolet roster with such a move.

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NASCAR America: Challenges of manufacturer parity in Cup

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As NASCAR closes the 2017 season this week in Las Vegas, an issue becomes if manufacturer parity will be a reality in 2018.

Toyota, which debuted a new Camry before the 2017 season, didn’t win the most races in the regular season — Chevrolet did with 10 — but Toyota won eight of 10 playoff races and won the championship with Martin Truex Jr. (Chevrolet went winless in the playoffs).

Toyota’s dominance was an issue Ford driver Brad Keselowski raised toward the end of the regular season. Toyota driver Kyle Busch had a sharp response to Keselowski’s comments at Chicagoland Speedway on the opening weekend of the playoffs. 

NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton addressed the issue of manufacturer parity.

“Is the parity of the manufacturers, is that such that you’re going to have to do a (car) submittal every year?’’ Burton said. “So that Ford can go back … (and) resubmit the same car to be able to shift that downforce. I don’t think a Toyota makes more downforce than a Ford. I think it makes more rear downforce and less front and that was advantageous this year with the rules. That’s a tough situation for NASCAR to get a hold of.’’

Chevrolet debuts the Camaro ZL1 next season in Cup. That will leave Ford with the oldest model among the three manufacturers

“It’s going to be interesting to see what NASCAR does or how they try to balance the field,’’ Petty said. “If they want true parity, they’re going to have to look at this at some point in time and try to figure out how to weigh it.’’

Watch the video above for more from Petty and Burton on the issue.

Chevrolet shut out of victory lane in Cup playoffs for first time

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Kyle Larson was Chevrolet’s only hope.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver ran in third place in the closing laps of the Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Despite close racing, the 25-year-old driver was unable to pass Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. for the win.

When the checkered flag flew, Larson was one of two Chevy drivers in the top five, followed by Chase Elliott in fifth.

Had Larson found a way to get around Busch and Truex’s Toyotas, he would have delivered Chevy’s first – and only – win of the postseason.

The manufacturer went without a win in the Cup postseason for the first time since NASCAR changed how it crowned its Cup champion in 2004.

Toyota won eight playoff races and Ford claimed the other two.

Larson earned the last Chevrolet win in the regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway.

In all, Chevrolet visited Victory Lane 10 times in the first 26 races of the season. Toyota and Ford each won eight.

Here’s how many postseason races Chevrolet has won in each year of the playoffs.

2004 – Seven wins, all consecutively

2005 – Four wins

2006 – Eight wins

2007 – Seven wins

2008 – Four wins

2009 – Six wins, including five in a row

2010 – Five wins

2011 – Seven wins, five by Tony Stewart

2012 – Four wins in the last four races

2013 – Six wins, four in a row

2014 – Six wins, including final four races

2015 – Four wins, three in a row

2016 – Five wins

2017 – Zero wins

In 14 seasons, Chevrolet has won 73 of 140 playoff races.

Xfinity Championship 4 field set by Phoenix race

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AVONDALE, Arizona – JR Motorsports teammates William Byron, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier will be joined by Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric in the championship race next weekend in Miami.

All four secured spots Saturday at Phoenix. They make for an all-Chevrolet final.

All four will enter Miami with the same number of points. The driver who finishes the highest among the four will win the championship.

Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Ryan Reed and Brennan Poole were eliminated from contention.

Click here for points report

Matt Tifft: Richard Childress Racing will be ‘totally new world for me’

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CONCORD, North Carolina — After two years and more than 35 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series, Matt Tifft will have a new home next season.

It was announced last week that Tifft, 21, will join Richard Childress Racing next season driving the No. 2 Chevrolet.

Tifft said Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway the move will present a “totally new world for me.” The native of Hinckley, Ohio, will drive something other than a Toyota for the first time since 2014 when he competed in three Camping World Truck Series races for B.J. McLeod Motorsports.

“I don’t know how the simulation of the Chevy things work,” Tifft said. “I don’t know what they do differently on the engineering side or the driver development side. All that will be new to me. New crew chief, new guys. That part is always exciting because you have newness around it. Not to say this was bad at all, because I’m really having a great time with my guys right now and it’s been a lot of fun. You have the opportunity to be there for a couple of years and hopefully grow together and get to a place where we’re winning races.”

There are four races left in Tifft’s tenure driving the No. 19 Toyota for JGR. In his rookie Xfinity season, Tifft has two top fives and 10 top 10s following Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tifft is one of the eight drivers left in the playoffs.

He finished ninth in Saturday’s race, recovering from an uncontrolled tire penalty that sent him a lap down and temporarily outside the top eight in the standings.

No matter the outcome of Tifft’s playoff experience this season, he has multi-year deal waiting for him at RCR’s shop in Welcome, North Carolina.

“It’s something I had to do for my career to be able to hopefully stay around a while longer,” Tifft said. “It’s exciting for sure. Obviously, right now the playoffs matter. This year matters. It’s something for sure to look forward to next year.”

Tifft will be joining a RCR operation that will include at least Daniel Hemric. The driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet was announced as returning to RCR next season in the hours before Tifft’s news was announced.

Next season will be Tifft’s first in NASCAR with a full-time teammate.

MORE: Daniel Hemric moves forward with new RCR contract

Similar to Tifft, Hemric arrived at RCR this year after having driven a Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Truck Series in 2016. But he had driven a Chevrolet the previous year while racing for NTS Motorsports.

“He has so much car knowledge,” Tifft said of Hemric. “He comes from a background of working on and building cars and that’s really cool and it’s really admirable for a driver to do that. I understand the workings of the cars a good bit and I’ve learned a lot more about it. But having someone like that I think will just improve my understanding of these cars and what exactly I need to know about them. It’s nice to have a teammate there that can explain anything going on and you can bounce stuff off each other. That will definitely be a great thing for me.”

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